No Tiers, No Problem

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Cake Pops/Cake Balls

Serving unique and gorgeous globes of cake instead of the traditional slices has many advantages, says Janet Yurcik, co-owner of The Cute Little Cake Shop in Strongsville, Ohio. They’re easy to personalize with flavors (Yurcik offers more than 200), your wedding colors (gray with yellow, turquoise/teal, or black and hot pink is hot right now, Yurcik says), and special embellishments like jimmies, sugars, and glitters. You can display them in myriad ways or have them double as favors or place card holders. Best of all: No plates or utensils are required.

Cupcakes & More

Secretly like the tiered look, but want something more than a mound of the same old pastry? Mini slicing cakes atop cascading tiers of cupcakes or mini cupcake “shooters” are still quite popular, says Kyra Bussanich, owner of gluten-free Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and a “Cupcake Wars” winner. This way you can serve everything from the likes of Bussanich’s Chocolate Classic treats to Creamsicle, Apple Fritter, and Coffee & Doughnuts.

Yurcik’s Cute Little Cake Shop recently introduced a Design Your Own Cupcake Bar at its retail shop and is working on a similar concept for events – guests would make their own or have a cupcake bartender, Yurcik says. You also can incorporate cupcakes within a themed sweets table that showcases cookies, hand pies, candy, ice cream sandwiches and more.

Centerpiece Minis

If your goal is attention-getting desserts, Bussanich suggests putting them front and center with multiple trios of tempting mini cakes that serve as a substitute for table arrangements – place them on vintage pedestals or wood cheese boards. Guests will first devour them with their eyes and then get to dig in after dinner. While the many cakes themselves may not save much money, keep in mind that you won’t need large floral centerpieces.

Single-Tier Cakes

Want to have your German chocolate, red velvet, black forest, and salted caramel cake and be able to afford to eat it, too? Opt for an array of single-tier confections in different flavors. Even a dozen should be more cost-effective than a classic, multi-tier wedding cake. You can order them from a single baker or gather them from all your favorite shops in town. Present them on a decorated dessert table and let guests serve themselves or have an attendant standing by to help slice.

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